Beat ED Conference

Presentations on body image, outcomes and workshop leadership.

Newbridge House clinicians gave presentations and led sessions at the prestigious Eating Disorders International Conference (EDIC) in London in March 2016.

The event, organised by the national charity Beat, brings together eating disorders professionals from all over the world and the UK to present research and discuss best practice.

Newbridge House medical director Professor Hubert Lacey led a workshop on a new innovative treatment for people with severe and enduring anorexia, which he conducted with colleagues in Sydney and Chicago. These same international colleagues are now doing collaborative research at Newbridge on staging the severity of anorexia in children and teenagers (along same principles as cancer is staged) thereby allowing that most effective treatment for any one sufferer to be worked out. Newbridge is leading on this international project and pilot testing will begin shortly.

Assistant psychologist Amanda Beavan presented a study of outcomes one year after young people were discharged from Newbridge. The study found there was significant weight loss one year after discharge. Eating disorders attitudes, behaviour and impact on family were also measured and although there was a slight increase, this was not a significant one.

The presentation, entitled The need for community resources and seamless treatment, questioned what causes weight loss after discharge and highlighted the fact that young people go from the 24 hour, multi-disciplinary resource of the inpatient unit to varying CAMHS resources, typically for one hour each week and often lacking key specialists, such as a dietitian. Amanda concluded by speaking about the need for step-down care, more community based resources and ongoing work to support young people and their families to continue to be involved in outcome research after discharge.

Assistant psychologist Sarah Astbury gave a presentation explaining and evaluating the Practical Body Image programme which has been uniquely designed and delivered at Newbridge House and shared some preliminary results on the effectiveness of this intervention.

Sarah explained that body dissatisfaction is a strong predictor of onset, maintenance and relapse in eating disorders and highlighted that, although there is support for body image therapies with adults, there is little research evaluating this approach with young people.

Body dissatisfaction is a strong predictor of onset, maintenance and relapse in eating disorders, Sarah explained. But although there is support for body image work with adults, there is little research currently to evaluate this approach with children and adolescents.

Practical Body Image at Newbridge is a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) based approach, undertaken in 14 sessions on a 1:1 basis, including mirror exposure. Results show a significant decrease in social avoidance and a significant improvement in self-esteem. Participants reported they found sessions about errors in perceptions and negative beliefs particularly helpful.

Newbridge will now be running a pilot study with a standard treatment comparison group to further evaluate the practical body image programme. Additionally, Amanda Beavan developed and displayed a poster describing Teen BodyWise, a programme developed at Newbridge which lays the foundations for the more challenging practice body image work. The results of this programme, which can be started at an early stage in treatment, show a significant reduction in body image disturbance and high rates of satisfaction with the programme.

Professor Hubert Lacey commented: “Sarah and Amanda both gave very impressive presentations, thoughtfully developed and professionally delivered. I was delighted that Newbridge House was very significantly involved in the academic programme at this international conference, sharing our experience and research and reflecting on the questions raised.

“We are deeply committed to research and have a broad range of studies ongoing and due to take place. We are confident that the knowledge we are building, in partnership with our collaborators in the UK and internationally, will make a tangible contribution to understanding the best way to treat eating disorders in adolescents.”